Vie loves soups! There is simply no denying it.
Not only do we feature 8 every week in our Meal Plans (1 included with each plan) but we are constantly making them in our test kitchen.
We feel that adding soup into our weekly rotation of meals helps to offer an added health-boost to those moments when we might opt for take out because we just don’t feel like cooking a healthy dinner. That’s why every week we’ve got a fridge stocked full of at least one light soup or stew.
For Founder Lynsie, soup was one of the first meals she learned to make from scratch. Talk about an “ah-ha” moment. Being a kid in the DC suburbs, she had absolutely no idea that soup could be made. Her first, an adaptation from a recipe by none other than Rachael Ray, launched Lynsie into the direction of taking charge of what she ate. One soup opened a whole world for her, one that she admits has transformed every aspect of her life. After all: food is life, right? We better make it great!
In keeping with our January goals of healthy & lights recipes + utilizing pantry staples, we are offering up this awesome recipe for you this week that encapsulates all of the above. In case you missed our Live Video Tutorial on our Facebook page, take a look by following this link, or scroll down to watch it right here. Find our top 5 Vie Soups here.
Also, before you begin, you get a choice of how you want to start this soup off right! We encourage buying dried white beans for this dish for two reasons: 1) they are much more inexpensive than buying canned beans and 2) we love to teach you new skills in order to empower you to cook more scratch-made meals at home. Cooking beans from dried is super easy, and can be done in many different ways.
Dutch Oven BYOB Style
Follow this recipe for a play-by-play of this method. We learned this from a dear friend and love it because it works for anyone that has a Dutch oven or any other ovenproof cooking vessel with a lid. You’ll need an hour and a half at most to make these.
Yield 8-10 cups
BYOB (Baking Your Own Beans) is a method we learned a long time ago from a dear friend. It is safe to say that this method ensures the best-cooked bean: tender, slightly al dente - yet soft. It's perfect for using in soups or in salads and grain bowls!
You'll need a Dutch oven or an ovenproof cooking vessel fitting with a lid.
1 bag beans
1 thumb-sized piece dried kombu (seaweed-look for it at Whole Foods in the Asian ingredients section-see photo below)
enough water to cover beans by 4 inches
- Pour out dried beans in a colander and rinse, making sure to remove any debris like pebbles (this can happen).
- Pour beans into a large Dutch oven and add enough water to cover beans by 4 inches.
- Add your kombu (this nifty little piece of seaweed helps to reduce the phytic acid in the beans. Phytic acid is the stuff that creates gas in your body as you digest. It does not change the flavor of the beans and can be easily removed once cooking is done).
- Place beans, covered partially with the lid, over high heat and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, set a timer for 15 minutes, covering your Dutch oven completely.
- While beans are in their initial phase of cooking, preheat your oven to 250 F.
- Once timer has gone off, remove Dutch oven from heat and place in the oven (be careful: it's heavy and hot) and make sure lid is covering the pot securely so that no water evaporates.
- Set a timer for 1 hour. After the first hour, remove beans carefully and check for doneness. You want them to be soft but still intact, not mushy or falling apart. The best way to test this is to give one a taste.
- If they're done, remove them, cool and place in plastic bags to store in the fridge or freezer. If they need a little longer, set a timer for 15 minute increments and check each time the timer goes off until the beans are cooked to your liking.**
*Adding salt can inhibit or arrest the cooking of the beans, meaning that if salt is added before they have cooked, they might never get soft enough to be edible. Simply add salt once they've cooked.
**Every bean is different due to its size, therefore they all cook at slightly different rates. The only beans that you don't want to use this method for are lentils and split peas, which can be done quickly on the stovetop.
Slow Cooker Style
For this method, simply soak beans overnight, drain and rinse, then add to your slow cooker. Cover with water -adding as much as possible-, add a thumb-sized piece of kombu (seaweed), then cook on high until tender. Alternatively, you can set the temperature to low and cook overnight. Cooking overnight (or all day) is great, but just keep in mind that you might not be able to control how soft the beans get. For the White Bean Soup, it doesn’t matter how mushy they become because we’ll be puréeing them! When beans are done, remove and store in plastic bags in the freezer until ready to use, or go right ahead and make your soup! Plan to give yourself the most amount of time for this method, 6-8 hours, plus overnight soaking time.
Pressure Cooker Style
In our tutorial, we’ll be using this method, however we have made them every way listed in this post, so choose which option works best for the time you have and the kitchen appliances you own. You’ll be adding your beans + onion, garlic and a thumb-sized piece of kombu (seaweed) to your pressure cooker, cooking on high pressure for 20 minutes (the beans setting) and then cooling before making soup. Don’t forget to watch our Video Tutorial to see this process.
And if all else fails…make your beans on the Stovetop!
Simply rinse beans, add to a large pot, cover with water and add a thumb-sized piece of kombu (seaweed). Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for an hour or two (depending on bean size) or until beans are soft.
For all of the above, just remember ONE IMPORTANT THING: DO NOT ADD SALT to your beans before cooking. This can inhibit their ability to cook so add salt after they’ve cooked. Trust us, you’ll thank us later.
SOUP Creamy White Bean with Pesto Drizzle
Yield 8-10 servings
Using white beans in soups has long been a healthy way to add creaminess and a smooth mouth-feel (puréed soups are so "in"!) so of course the texture of this soup is something we really love but what we love the most is the bright green & herbaceous pesto drizzle that goes on top as a garnish.
You'll love mixing together the simple flavors of the puréed beans and potatoes with the nutty-basil flavor of the pesto.
1 large pkg basil (or 2 cups of any herbs you choose: parsley, cilantro, scallions, chives)
1 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 cup grated parmesan *optional
2 cloves garlic, left whole
1 pinch red pepper flakes
2 tsp olive oil
1 pinch salt
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bag white beans, cooked (2 cups reserved)*
2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
1-2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
2 tsp salt and pepper (or to taste)
- Make pesto first by combining basil, pine nuts, parmesan*, garlic, red pepper flakes, half of olive oil, pinch of salt and lemon zest and juice in a food processor or blender. Set aside.
- Sauté onion and garlic in the rest of the olive oil for 5 minutes. Add beans (minus 2 cups), potatoes and chicken or vegetable stock. Cook for 20 minutes.
- Puree soup in a blender, add the rest of the beans and add salt. Taste and adjust seasonings. Cook until heated through and top with pesto to serve.
*If you don't want to cook your dried beans, simply replace with 5 cans.
Also, as a meaty additions, brown up some Italian sausage (spicy or sweet) and crumble on top after you drizzle the pesto!